One of the important instruments that helps astronomers to discover the space more accurately is telescope. The good news is last Friday, Hawaiian Board of Land and Natural Resources approved the construction of the world’s largest optical telescope called the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in the territory. This telescope will be able to image objects 13 billion light years away, near the beginning of time!
The TMT will be built on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The TMT will have a primary mirror of 492 segments measuring around 100 feet (30 meters) across. Besides, the telescope will have 144 times the light-collecting area of the Hubble Space Telescope and nearly 10 times that of one of the Keck telescopes. The TMT will operate in wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the mid-infrared. As planned, it will work with the James Webb Space Telescope to peer into the early ages of the universe.
The telescope would be able to observe planets that orbit stars other than the Sun, and enable astronomers to watch new planets and stars being formed. It would also help scientists see around 13 billion light years away for a glimpse into the early years of the universe. That means, the TMT would be able to observe planets in far away solar system, and would photograph those planets in unprecedented detail.
The construction of this world’s largest optical telescope will begin in a year and is expected to cost over $1 billion. The TMT is slated to begin scientific studies in 2021.
But the telescope may not hold the world’s largest title for long. A group of European countries plans to build the European Extremely Large Telescope, which will have a 138 feet (42 meter) long mirror.